Prior Owners
An 1880s Italianate Home in Albany, Oregon
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Prior Owners

When viewed across decades, historic homes seem to grow, fall into disrepair, and flower again in ways that more modern houses do not. Walls move, rooms are added, and the whole house evolves over time. Often major changes are tied to particular owners ... other changes come about because of less predictable events like fire or bankruptcy.

This page describes the home's prior owners. Much of the information on this page comes from courthouse records, but I've pieced together other parts from a variety of sources. Some parts are quite sketchy ... and if anyone knows more about the home's history, please contact me.  -- Dave Sullivan

N. H. Allen  -- 1880 - ????

N. H. Allen built the house around 1880. He owned a lumber mill and later a mercantile store. He strung a wire from a dynamo in his lumber mill on the river to the home -- making it the first home in Albany to have electric lights. Later, he organized the Albany Electric & Telephone Company in 1886. 

Margaret Swanson, Frank and Evangeline Allen ???? - 1955

In 1955, Margaret Swanson owned an undivided two-thirds interest in the home. Frank and Evangeline Allen owned the other one-third interest. In July 1955 they transferred their ownership to Gordon and Madeline Allen.

Gordon and Madeline Allen 1955 - 1967

In May 1967 the Allen family lost control of the property when it was put up for sale through a public auction by the First National Bank of Oregon. The property sold for $6500.

These pictures were taken in 1966 when Portland scrap dealers, Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan, were in Albany looking at old buildings ... so they show a bit about the condition of the home shortly before the public auction.

The son of the original owner. Mr. Allen proudly said this was Albany's first house with electric lights, and that his father had held him up to turn on the first lights in town. 
Side view taken in 1966. Note the missing metal work on the top floor. It had been damaged in the October 12, 1962 windstorm, and was sold to Jerry Bosco and Ben Milligan at this time. It was returned to the home with much public fanfare in 1995.
Close-up of kitchen porch in 1966.

First National Bank of Oregon 1967 - 1978

Strange as it may seem, the public records indicate that the First National Bank of Oregon owned the house between 1967 and 1978. I know very little about the house in this period.

Clarence and Jewell Pare 1978 - 1982

The Pares purchased the home in May 1978.

Richard and Theresa Larson 1982 -1988

The Larsons purchased the home in May 1982 for $45,000. They made extensive updates to the home -- installing a new electrical system, removing plaster and replacing it with drywall ...

Richard and Roseanne Siemens 1988 - 1997

The Siemens purchased the home in May 1988 for $69,500. You can learn more about a fun event during their stay in the home on the Cresting in 1995 portion of the Roof and Cresting page.

Cory and Vicki Yeske 1997 - 2002

W. Cory Yeske and Vicki J. Yeske, purchased the home in March 1997 for $155,000. A little more than five years later, in December 2002, after the Yeskes defaulted on their mortgage, the home was sold at a public auction for $129,016. I suspect the drop in value was the result of several factors. Based on the best evidence available to me, it appears the Yeskes started but did not complete a bunch of remodeling projects. Worse, the roof had failed, so the eaves and rafters had significant rot. To my eye, it appeared the home had taken a rather rapid decline in just the last few years.

However, in a series of email messages to me (Dave Sullivan), Vicki Yeske makes the case that "the house was a mess" when the Yeskes purchased it from Richard and Roseanne Siemens. So she lays the blame for many of the home's flaws on earlier deferred maintenance issues.

Dave and Barbara Sullivan

We bought the home in August 2003 from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) for a bargain price because the home was in pretty rough shape.

The following three-part video was recorded by Dave Sullivan on August 12, 2003 -- the day we purchased the home. All three parts are hosted on YouTube.

Part 1 explores the exterior of the home.

  Part 2 explores the first and second floor.

  Part 3 wanders around the basement.

The following photos show the condition of the home when we purchased it, August 2003.

Front of house from 6th Avenue
Note: I enhanced the N. H. Allen stained glass above the front door to make it visible.
Side view of house from 6th Avenue
Master bedroom
The master bedroom goes across the entire back of the house and has an arch between the sitting and sleeping areas.
Master bedroom
This view shows the new doorway into what used to be the middle bedroom. The prior owners decided to convert the middle bedroom into a walk-in closet area for the master bedroom, so they punched this new doorway between the rooms.
Lead paint testing
Little lead was found in the paint inside the building. The white paint on the outside was filled with lead.
Kitchen porch
You might want to compare this view of the porch with the view in 1966.
Kitchen porch
Kitchen
The cabinet doors have punched tin inserts.
Ceiling in upstairs, front bedroom
The open hole used to be the attic access.
Basement
The basement was not original to the house. Instead, it was jacked up 8 feet around 1900, and bricks were laid around the edges of the house.
Basement stairs
These narrow stairs were an obvious after-thought when the basement was added.
Dining room to living room view
I'm not sure why the doorway between these rooms was torn out ...
Front entryway
Only one set of stairs leads to the second floor.
Front parlor ceiling
Front of the house
Living room fireplace
The home originally had two chimneys. One was removed (although a stub remains that rises to the basement ceiling). The chimney behind this newly added wall was rebuilt from the ground up sometime in the 1980s.
Upstairs bathroom ceiling
This bathroom has a clawfoot tub ...
Upstairs hallway
Side yard
Compare this view with the 1966 view of the side of the house. At that time, the grapes were nowhere to be seen.

 


The Allen-House.Com and RoyalHouse1873.com websites are maintained by Dave and Barbara Sullivan who live in the N. H. Allen House at 208 6th Avenue SE, Albany, Oregon. Our home phone is 541-924-5983.